Although cats are very meticulous about their own self-grooming, there are times when it will be necessary to step in and help them out. If you need to administer medication for ear mites, your vet may recommend that you clean the ears before doing so. The process may seem intimidating, but if you follow this process, it should go rather smoothly.
What You Will Need:
- Cotton balls or Q-tip swabs
- Ear cleaning solution
- Hydrogen peroxide (optional)
- A large, thick towel
- Cat treats
How to Clean those Kitty Ears:
- Find your cat.
- Once you’ve gotten hold of your cat, make sure he is in a calm frame of mind by offering a few minutes of stroking and cuddling.
- Swaddle your cat within the towel (making sure his legs and feet are in a comfortable position, not twisted or bent) and hold him on your lap. The swaddling will prevent him from breaking free or scratching you during the ear cleaning process. However, cats do bite, so be careful, especially if your cat has a tendency to do so.
- Inspect each ear carefully. The inside of the ears should be pink, perky and odor free, even if there is a buildup of wax or dirt. If there is any white, yellow or greenish discharge or puss, or there appears to be redness, black scabs, swelling or foul odor, consult your veterinarian immediately. For more information regarding the signs and symptoms of feline ear infections, visit Paw Prints & Purrs Inc..
- Gently wipe the outside of the interior ear (the pink part) with the cotton ball or Q-tip. DO NOT insert the cotton ball or Q-tip into the ear canal! Try not to pushh any debris further into the ear.
- Following the directions on the ear cleaning solution, place one or two drops in each ear, working on one ear at a time.
- Rub the base of each ear to work the cleaning solution in.
- Release your cat for about 5 minutes. This will allow him time to shake his head, thus helping to dislodge the debris within.
- After about 5 minutes, pick your cat up again and swaddle him once more in the towel (again, make sure his legs and feet are in a comfortable position).
- With the cotton ball or Q-tip, gently wipe away the dislodged debris. Again, DO NOT insert the cotton ball or Q-tip into the ear canal!
- If there is stubborn wax build-up or dirt around the outer ear or in the crevices, dampen the Q-tip or cotton ball with either hydrogen peroxide or water and blot it on a towel to remove the excess liquid before wiping the ear. This should do the trick.
- Release your cat from the towel, praise him highly for getting through the ordeal, and follow that up with cat treats.
Additional Tips and Advice
- It is best to attempt the ear cleaning when your cat is sleepy, or in an affectionate mood. If your cat seems agitated or overly playful, simply wait to do the cleaning, if possible.
- Only use ear cleaning solutions designed specifically for cats. You can find feline ear cleaning solutions at most pet stores, or you can ask your veterinarian for a recommendation. Always read labels carefully and follow all instructions when using any feline ear cleaning solution.
- Cat’s ears are sensitive: Never place hydrogen peroxide, or any other substance (other than cat-specific ear cleaning product) directly into your cat’s ear canal unless specifically directed by a veterinarian. (This is why it’s important to blot a wet cotton swab before wiping the outer ear – so no drips go into the canal.)
- It is always best to have another person around to help you when you are cleaning your cat’s ears, even if it’s just to help keep your cat calm during the process.
- Never poke or prod your cat’s ear canal. Even if you see a piece of wax or other debris that appears easy to remove, it is best to leave it up to a veterinarian, or you may risk injuring your cat’s ear or eardrum.
- Always be gentle when handling your cat’s ears, especially if you suspect he has an infection. Cat’s ears are quite sensitive and handling them too roughly can cause unnecessary pain.
- When in doubt, always seek the advice of a veterinarian. For help finding a qualified veterinarian in your area, contact your local Chamber of Commerce, or visit the Yellow Pages.